Keeper Rankings 2015

Posted: December 9, 2014 in League News

We did it!! After 3 years building, the Blue Balls captured their first shooter cup since taking over the franchise in 2011. Thanks to the Crackheads for putting up a season-long battle and keeping it exciting right to the end. We were sad to lose our Cuban duo of Puig and Cespedes and we had to say goodbye to Pedroia, our franchise cornerstone in prior years to take the final step forward. There are really only three keys to winning each season and if done right, anybody has a shot. Luck is of course a huge factor, but a strong draft (Gordon, Cueto, Gray, V-Mart) can cover up for some bad luck (losing Wieters, Tulo, Zimmerman, Beltran, Cuddyer). Most important to winning, is a good, strong set of keepers. Strong keepers allow you to have flexibility in your lineup as well as being able to trade one player to fill multiple gaps on your roster that have opened…either through a miss during your draft or due to injury.

Given that it’s still early, only a few sites have full rankings for 2015 updated so far. Each site was given a weight in the composite ranking based on their reputation (ESPN – Keepers = 20%, ESPN – Redraft = 20%, RotoChamp = 15%, Rotoworld = 15% and Fangraphs = 30%)

From the great base these sites provided, I crunched some numbers, resulting in your keeper rankings…hope you enjoy!! All ranks are based on the sites above, so feel free to disagree with the top keepers highlighted on each team. I know we usually find several teams going off the board for players they love that have higher potential than current value suggests. To that end…here’s your top keepers from 2014 and how they rank against each other…

Right out of the gate and I was shocked to see the Poo Dogs ranked so low after a 3rd place finish last year. A rough year from Davis hurt his rank and Braun/Blackmon/Dozier and maybe even Harrison not getting the respect they deserve. Poo Dogs might not have the top 8 ranked keepers, but he had the most players in the top 200 of all the teams and is going to have to make some tough decisions in the coming week. Having cashed last year, it’s not a bad boat to be in, but would it have held him in the money longer if he’d taken this depth and upgraded the keeper set? This may be a low ranking, but the Poo Dogs draft well and if they select the right set of players, could still have a shot.

London Tribe spent 2014 rebuilding and has a decent top 6, while the backend has some risk to it. Tanaka doesn’t get any love after an injury plague first season and you have to worry about him possibly blowing his arm out in 2015. Segura had a horrific 2014 season…personally and on the field. There’s still obvious potential in him if he can return to form. Fielder will hopefully become the monster hitter we all thought he could be in Texas. Plenty of overall upside to the Tribe’s roster, but his 2015 looks unlikely to finish in the top half. If they have a good build in 2015, they should come out as a team to contend the following season.

RSP has an interesting team. Some very good players, but the low rank shows there’s something missing. For one, still deep in their build, a team with the average age at 28 had better get younger while improving. Also, they’ve been moving valuable youth to upgrade the top keepers, resulting in no RK depth to add value. RSP took a major hit when Taveras, possibly the best young bat in MLB, was taken away. A supplementary RK pick provided some minor value back, but not enough to make up for that loss. While there’s a lot to like here, I still think this team will need two years before they’re competitive.

It’ll be interesting to see how Heyward reacts to the change of scenery. Having grown up in the Atlanta area and playing in front of family and friends half the season, the pressure to perform might have been a bit much for him and he could finally realize his monster potential. It’s interesting that Soler is ranked as high as he is…clearly he showed what he can do, but we have to wonder if the pitching will catch up with him next year and wonder if he’ll adapt. He’s hit at every level and should be fun to watch. TMB has lowest average age of all the teams this year…a full year younger than the next team and 2-3 younger than most. TMB needs a good draft, but it positioned for a money spot if he hits on the right players.

Trade Mike Trout!! That guy is HORRIBLE…but we’ll take him off your hands. Super Sods has the best keeper in the league and a very solid top 5-6, but beyond that, some work to be done. No RK properties means he’s got very little ability to upgrade before the draft, but he’s proven he can draft very well in the past. With minimally 3 keepers to upgrade and no RK picks, that draft depth will be critical to how long it takes for the Super Sods to be competitive again. One year may be enough for a strong owner like this, but two year would make them a dominant contender…how much patience will they have?

Another very solid team in the middle of the ranks, Fury will hope that his middle infielders can stay on the field and get back to the dominance they’ve provided in the past. Another lack of RK’s gave Fury’s team a hit on the rankings, but the base set of keepers is very nice. Fury will need to decide soon if they should continue pushing for money spots or instead rebuild as their team age is pushing towards 30 now. As with other teams in this tight range of keeper points, Fury can contend with a solid draft, but has little leverage to increase his chances with one RK pick.

The Asshats broke from their norm last year and made a few trades! Getting younger and still with tons of upside to their keepers, the Asshats will look to finish in the money this year and are well positioned to do so. If the Asshats get 1-2 of their young players to maximize their potential and then also build some RK depth, they could easily be a top ranked team for next year, but they’ll have to decide at some point whether they want to build a dynasty team or one that will sit on the outer money spots for years.

I guess pitching won’t be an issue for the Dick Dogs. It’s notable that Votto is sitting outside the top 8…hard to believe he’s not being underrated right now. Similarly, Jay Bruce had an off year and is now in his age 27 season…is the risk here too high to bump one of the players ranked higher or is he worth the risk? Dick Dogs decisions on those two players may drive his season, but if they bounce back, this combination of pitching and hitting/speed could be hard to compete against. If the Dick Dogs had any RK picks or players, they have enough leverage to set themselves up for a title run, but right now I’d expect them to fight for a high money spot.

Wow. Legacy jumped 8 spots in the rankings since last year…incredible. Starting with probably the best RK selection since Mike Trout, Abreu led his team with the AL ROY award and it wasn’t close. On the NL side, Billy Hamilton was expected to run away with it, but lost out after tailing off in the 2nd half. While still posting great SB totals and better than expected AVG, Hamilton will hopefully take another step forward in 2015, but in his last RK year, he’ll need to either up his totals or get more consistent to take over a keeper spot. Legacy has, in my opinion, some of the best young keepers in MLB, however he also has some that I feel are very overrated (Longoria, Machado) as they seem to be fan favourites, but have declined since their initial success. Legacy is close, but should take a patient approach, finish in the money, but build to improve the last 2-3 keepers for an extended stay at the top.

Our current Shooter Cup champion needed to move some of his young, high potential keepers to hold off the Crackheads, but still managed to get back solid players who are closer to decline. This may be the final year before a full rebuild has to start, but could also be used to finish lower, while slowly fixing the age issues. We’ll have to see how the draft goes to get an idea of which course they will take.

Consistently finishing in a money position ended this year, Dynasty is set to get to the top again and battle for the Shooter Cup. Dynasty has a dangerous combination of strong keepers and RK picks/properties that can be used as leverage to upgrade draft positions or his base keeper set. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes as his RK’s could either be moved for value or could contribute themselves if he holds on to them. He also worked the waiver wire well in 2014, ending up with NL ROY deGrom and swapping in someone like that would lower his average team age.

Well, well, well…do the Crackheads ever finish outside the top 3 in the rankings? Easily the best base keepers, the Crackheads will fight for a Shooter Cup for one more season before they may have to look at some changes. A fantastic combination of power, speed, consistency and high end pitching, we’ll all hope they have horrible draft so that we can keep pace. On top of the base keepers, they also have a couple middle of the pack RK picks to use as leverage to either correct mistakes or cover up injuries along the way or in advance of his draft. The Crackheads are the favourite to take home the 2015 Shooter Cup.

Good luck to all in 2015!


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